New can shooting sparks (sparking)

Discussion in 'Silencers' started by MJK, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. MJK New Member

    Hello everyone!

    I have a can which is currently in lockup at my local reseller. After growing tired of waiting more than 7 months I finally broke down and requested and was granted my first conjugal visit (nothing special in and of itself...)

    For reference, it is a 338BA can on top of my Barrett MRAD .338LM 24" heavy barrel. (edited specs...)

    While I and my surrounding crew were nothing short of amazed at its sound performance, we did note the following and would like feed back on its behavior from those of you who know what is normal and not.

    First and foremost, there was a disturbing amount of characteristic titanium-white sparks coming out of the suppressor. Enough to light up the indoor range we were in. An inspection of the can seemed to indicate that there was NOT any contact being made, however I can't completely rule it out. For reference, this rifle normally shoots .25-.50moa @ 100yds indoor. With the can, it opened up to 1.5+moa. Removing and reseating the can made no apparent change in group size or spark quantity/intensity. (Thinking is that the bullet "brushing" by the I.D. of the can is deflecting the bullets???)

    As stated above, the group size opened up more than just a little bit. While this is my first can, all of the people at the club where I purchased it told me that I could actually expect increased accuracy. (Frankly I doubted this, but I did believe (hope?) that accuracy would not be adversely affected.) Going from even .5moa to 1.5moa in my eyes is a deal breaker... : /

    Heat! OMFG! Yeah, I was clearly told it would get hot, I was even strongly advised to purchase a heat cover, which I in-fact did. But holy-hell, fortunately I was smart enough to test the waters before I actually laid bare skin on this thing. I have a 4500sq ft house and I bet during the winter I could heat the whole damn thing with it...

    So what's somebody's thoughts? Is anything here out of the ordinary? Can I expect the sparking to dissipate? Will the group size then correspondingly return to normal?

    Thanks so much!
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  2. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Let's figure out the change in accuracy first. That is not normal. If it shoots 1/4-1/2 MOA unsuppressed, it should maintain that accuracy with the suppressor. Can you give us a call Friday and we'll walk through some things to check?
  3. MJK New Member

    I may be able to do that, I will not be able to do any shooting however... Can I assume to call the number available under contacts?
  4. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Yeah, call 307-287-2052 and talk to Ray, Shane, or Zak. If Friday doesn't work, then call at your convenience.

  5. domestique New Member

    Any updates and outcome?

    I have a 338ba in jail as well.
  6. MJK New Member

    I have had time during business hours to be able to call in yet, so not yet...

    EDIT: Sorry, "have not had time..."
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  7. domestique New Member


    You mentioned the heat. How many rounds in a set amount of time did you send down range?

    Thanks for the fast reply!
  8. MJK New Member

    Varied, "fast" was maybe 3-5/min with no more than 15 shot consecutively... This resulted in enough mirage coming off of the can (with the heat cover on) to essentially obscure clear viewing through my Premier Heritage at 25X. There was enough radiant heat coming off of it that it was absolutely clear that touching it would be the last thing I would ever do with that hand. At least as hot as headers on a lean running engine...

    "Slow" was 1/min - clearly not as hot, but still hot enough to burn flesh...
  9. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Getting hot is normal and if you crank 15 rounds through pretty fast it's going to get hot.

    The accuracy impact is not normal and does indicate that something is not right, most likely with the mounting.
  10. MJK New Member

    Yeah, to be honest, while the amount of heat is surprising the first time around, it really doesn't shock me, it's just kind of fun to tell the story...

    However the sparks are disturbing and the accuracy is disappointing...

    I can easily believe and accept that the mounting is at fault. I'm just not sure what I can do about it. I did use the Barrett jam nut that is used on the MRAD brake on the backside of the TBAC brake. I did not use the shim washers because they were effectively floating in the relief doughnut on the backside of the brake. I could alternatively not use the Barrett jam nut and use the shim washer technique but this results in an appreciable amount of the barrel protruding into the first slot of the brake.
  11. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    The jam nut is causing the problem and that's why our products (and instructions- ahem) use peel washers. Jam nuts do not create a true co-axial relationship between the suppressor and bore.

    From your description it is not clear to me exactly which brake you have, and I'd like to see a picture of the muzzle threads too. Could you remove the brake and take a photo of the muzzle threads, and then another one of the brake just so we're clear on what you have?

    We have made two different brakes for the MRAD. Barrett communicated to us that rifles made prior to 1/2013 take what we call the MRAD brake, and rifle manufactured after 1/2013 use our standard 3/4-24 brake.

    If you could, please email photos to

    If you have the wrong brake we can swap it out no problem.

  12. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Send me a phone number too and I'll give you a call after I look at them.
  13. MJK New Member

    There is no doubt it's the MRAD brake with the 3/4-20 thread on it. (I can be a bit stubborn sometimes, but not so much as to cross-thread a 24 thread nut onto a 20 thread pitch screw) Because my local reseller could not be certain which barrel I had, I got out my trusty thread pitch gauges prior to purchasing the brake.

    email/phone on the way
  14. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    The outer sleeve on the rear of the brake should go over the OD of the barrel shoulder and not the use of the shims between the barrel shoulder and rear of the brake.
  15. Ken oliver New Member

    Ken oliver
    I gathered you all figured out the POI shift, but what about the sparks? I have a 30P-1 that has been sitting in my safe waiting for my .308 to be delivered. I finally couldn't stop playing with it and had to take it to the range. I put it on a sig m-400 with a precision armament thread adapter. Everything was nice and snug and I'm positive there wasn't any cross threading, etc. After a shot with sparks, I rechecked the bore alignment and it looked good with the naked eye.
    I've seen online videos showing sparking with suppressors and they don't seem very concerned. What causes the sparking?
    Many thanks.
  16. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Any microscopic metal particles might show up as sparks. I have night photos of muzzle brake flashes with sparks present.
  17. MJK New Member


    My can came out of lockup right at 9.5 months, I hear tell that the BATF has added people and that they expect this time to go down! Yea team!

    This has subsided, I can no longer see it myself when I'm shooting but others can...

    Hey, when they say use "Red" loctite, they mean it, (I used "Blue" sparingly...) After carefully cleaning the Blue out/off and then applying the Red, my group size came back down to nearly what it had been before...

    Yup, the thing still gets hot enough to cook on, apparently running 98.6 grains of Vit N570 in a .338LM generates some heat...

    Since then I have also used my MagnetoSpeed Chronograph and found that I maintained the same velocity over a couple of different loads, I didn't gain any velocity like some claimed, but at least I didn't lose any.

    Lessons learned:

    • Use RED Loctite and more than a drop, don't over-torque, immediately after application, install the brake adapter fully to seat depth, rotate back/forth (to distribute Loctite fully...), torque appropriately. LET THIS SET AT LEAST ONE FULL DAY, DON'T CHEAT!!!
    • I lost a tiny bit of accuracy, but not enough that it couldn't possibly be attributed to me just having an "off" group... (Sorry, I can't quantify this)
    • I didn't lose any notable velocity, without brake I was at ~3050fps, with it I was at ~3045fps, again this could easily be any number of factors besides the brake. (Lapua 250 Scenar)
    • Energy/time = heat. I just wasn't prepared for how much, unless you're shooting ONCE, maybe twice, you're going to NEED a thermal cover...
  18. Ken oliver New Member

    Ken oliver
    Great info. Thanks.
    Zak, As far as the sparks and microscopic particles, does this normally dissipate over time like MJK's? Is there anything I can do to my suppressor to clear it up sooner? I had not seen it before, and am concerned that if I accept it as normal, it might one day mask a bigger problem.
  19. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Yes, it should dissipate. If you are getting great accuracy it should not indicative of any larger problem

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